25 Book Reviews

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Cedar Cove Novel- Characters you could have as friends!

"Waiting for Sunrise"

Product DetailsBy Eva Marie Everson     

Synopsis of Book:  Patsy Milstrap , the main character of this book wishes that she could just escape the past and leave it behind!!  However, even with her desperate efforts, she seems unable to do so.  A mother, a wife, in agony, trying to put on a brave front for her family, is a person we begin to feel is a good friend with a problem, as we read this book.  The scars she bears on her soul affect her deeply in her daily life, although her husband does his best to  gently help heal her wounds.  At his suggestion, they  leave their children at home and take a trip to Cedar Cove, an idyllic  island in Florida. He presumes a week in paradise will do them both good.  However, a familiar and unexpected face greets Patsy at a seaside restaurant. She then comes to the quick realization that she cannot run from the past no matter how hard she tries.  BUT, what will opening old wounds do to her, her husband and her family?  Can she survive the results?  "Waiting for Sunrise" is a southern romance, that is a touching story of a family, a young love and the great need for forgiveness of self and others.  

  I felt  for this young mother in such a way that she became a good friend in need. Eva has a talent of describing the characters in such a way that you feel empathy  for them that touches your soul. Patsy's pain becomes part of you. The setting is one where we all wish we could be when we have a problem and it is described in detail, making it visible in our minds.  The plot, although, I found it hard to get into at first and is rather slow moving, becomes very meaningful and interesting.  You get an understanding that some problems are caused by mental illness and can only be healed by the proper means and people.  God plays a big part of how we deal with it. It is not a subject to be ignored or to be ashamed of. 
  I did enjoy this book greatly and learned some valuable lessons from it.       
 "Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".                       

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Best Amish Mystery I Have Read This Year!!

Product Details"Material Witness"

               By Vannetta Chapman

Amish theme + quilt + mystery+ superb author= A FABULOUS BOOK !!!

Wow, is all I can say!!  "Material Witness" is the third in The Shipshewana Amish Mystery series by Vannetta Chapman, following book 1, "Falling to Pieces" and book 2, " A Perfect Square". Well, I must tell you, this is by far the BEST in the series!! Not that the others were not superb, but this book kept me so involved, that the world passed by , without me noticing. I easily could have read all night, glued to the page, had I not had a husband reminding me that the book would still be there the following morning and I would need some sleep.

It is very difficult to write a synopsis of this book without giving spoilers. Vannetta keeps you on the edge of your seat , as you follow the adventures of the main character, Callie , owner of Daisy's Quilt Shop and  her three best friends, in what at first appears a quiet Amish community. It is far from calm and peaceful, as murders occur, a thief is at work and lives are threatened. Callie's dog , Max, also plays an important role in the mysterious happenings that occur. Man's best friend becomes a helper indeed in helping solve the crime and capture the criminal.

Callie is ready for a fun filled time at the Fall Crafters' Fair, selling her fabric and quilting goods, as well as the quilts made by her Amish friends. Before much time has passed by, a murder has occurred, witnessed by a child sitting quietly in his wheelchair.  Why, is the big question? The person killed was not a threat to anyone ! The reason for this is a complete puzzle. BUT, this is just the beginning. As the plot progresses, killing and threats are a theme that we see again, BUT the biggest question we ask is , "Why?" None of them make any sense. You will, as I did, as you read, make guesses , but as the story progresses the plot thickens and all of my ideas went out the window!!

Entering the scene , then are the police who are involved in the investigation of the many crimes that take place, Andrew Gavin and Captain Taylor.  Trent , the editor, photographer, and writer of the town paper, also becomes involved. Then enters, Shane Black, who has been somewhat of an admirer of Callie for some time. Romance is in the air, in spite of the  fears and  mysteries.
Amongst the other mysteries, comes a strange request in a will- the restoration of antique quilts- why are they appearing in this book? What do they mean? Why are they so important to the book?
Does Callie find the love of her life? Do they find the murderer?..... I can not say more without giving away the best parts of this imaginative, creative story! You will just have to read it to find the answers.

The characters are described so realistically, that you get to be personal friends with them. Vannetta has written with a rare talent of making them ordinary, real people, with problems as you and I have. I felt their fears intensely, their challenges as well as their joys.
The plot has so many twists and turns, there were times that I had to go back to make sure that I had the details correct in my mind. Just when I thought I had an answer to a crime, another element would be thrown in to confuse me even more.

All I can say, Vannetta, is , "Please keep writing!!" These Amish mysteries are a hit and are written with an unusual talent . They are not an ordinary Amish story. Each one is unique and teaches us a lesson along the way. Depending on God , is a theme carried on through all the Shipshewana mysteries.  LOVED IT, VANNETTA!!

This ebook was provided by Zondervan and NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Book That I Could NOT Put Down!!!

Product Details

"Skip Rock Shallows"
   By Jan Watson
Jan outshines herself in this novel. Her description of her characters is outstanding in making you see people as they really are. Some appear crusty, rough and tough, but lovable in their own way. Others are the easy to love, soft, caring and kind. You experience all of those emotions when meeting the characters in this book.

The plot keeps this book in your hand until you are done!!  These characters who have installed themselves in your heart go through trials and challenges that most of us have never encountered and NEVER will, yet you can feel them deep within your heart.  Jan has the strength in her writing to colorfully describe each character and action  as it occurs. The plot twists and turns and exhibits a story of real life family love..In spite of never being even near a coal mine, I could clearly see the story unfold.

Synopsis: Lilly, the main character, has just graduated from medical school and accepts an internship in the  coal camp of Skip Rock, Kentucky. Her fiance, Paul, is doing his residency in a fine community in Boston and fails to understand Lilly's choice of working in a backwater, rough coal town. Lilly had grown up in the mountains thus felt something calling her back to her roots. God works in mysterious ways!!  She is drawn to these tough, hard working people who die in their job and their wives know their place and toil in their own way. Lilly has to overcome many challenges , as a female doctor , but after saving a man's life, her trust is gained by many. 
Complications arise within the coal mine and within Lilly's heart. She is torn between two young men- her intended in Boston and a handsome miner. How could she choose two such different men?? God has a plan for her life . Will Lilly follow it?? She wrestles with her decision and her mixed feelings about this rough life she would have to live in . She also wonders what he is hiding. Something just isn't right.  
Tragedies in the mine occur, mysterious happenings begin. Who is responsible? Can God supply the needs of these poor people who are struggling to make ends meet?

Wow!! A super book!!  Jan, I can hardly wait for another from you.

This book was supplied by Tyndale Press in exchange for an honest review.

Wanda has done it again!! Another winner!!

The Struggle, Kentucky Brothers Series #3   -     
        By: Wanda E. Brunstetter

                                       "The Struggle"
                                By Wanda Brunstetter

This book was certainly no disappointment !!  I keep thinking that Wanda's next book cannot possibly be as good as the last one, but alas, I am wrong!! And oh, I am so glad to be wrong - in this case.  This book continues her series of The Kentucky Brothers.  It is a follow up to "The Healing" and "The Journey", the stories of brothers who have left their home communities in PA to begin a new life in Kentucky. Their many challenges , including lonliness, differences in the Amish sects and family problems abound in this series, as well as how their faith in God and His plans help them succeed and find happiness.

 Timothy, whose twin had already moved to Kentucky, as well as his half  brother, Samuel, felt that he must make the same move. Being the only one left at home, near his parents, he felt a real struggle- he loved his home, his parents and his job, however his marriage was faltering , and he felt the need to get his wife away from her deep attachment to her mother, to heal a rift that was widening between them. It was a difficult job to tell his parents and cause more heartbreak, as they were already lonely, however , he knew they would support him and understand his needs. He loved his wife and daughter with all of his being but knew he was losing them bit by bit. Something must happen to have his beloved brought back to depend on him and enable them to work on their marriage without  interference.

Hannah remains a challenge to Timothy throughout the book. She is resentful of the move, which she hates and will not give her new community a chance.  Moving is not easy at any time, but she is forced to leave her family and home and share a home with Timothy's brother , who is a widower with three young children. He and his housekeeper/ fiance, try their best to make a true home for his brother and his family , but seem to be unsuccessful, regardless of all attempts. Hannah is determined to be an unhappy soul who causes all around her to be miserable. Poor Timothy is not given a chance. It seems as if God has not provided what they have needed. Have they allowed Him to plan their future?

Tragedies occur , but Hannah still does not cry out to God for help. Wanda describes her so well, I felt as if I knew her. I wanted to sit her down and have a talk with her!!  
Wanda just has the ability to have one feel as if the characters become part of you. I shed i many tears as this book progressed, feeling for all of this family.

The plot was well developed and some loops were thrown in that were totally unexpected. I was shocked at the events that occurred. TOTALLY UNEXPECTED!!

Well done, Wanda! I am most impressed with your continuation of this triligy! An outstanding work of art!!

Ebook provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A New Author to Watch!!

"A Plain Death"

A Plain Death: An Appleseed Creek MysteryBy Amanda Flower

Amanda is a new author to me and one which I will definitely read more of!! She is a talented woman who writes with detail, mystery and intrigue. Her attention to detail is outstanding as is her ability to involve you with her characters. Your attention is maintained throughout the entire book and I , myself, did NOT want this book to ever end!! I lived the lives of the characters and felt their desperation, joy and pain. They became so much a part of me that I thought of them even after I put the book down to retire for the night.In fact, I had difficulty putting the book down at all- meals could wait, housework will always be there, sleep... who needs it???

The setting is Appleseed Creek, Ohio. The main character is Chloe, coming to a small town from the big city, a computer tech , who takes a short term job here, thinking she will be removed from the problems of the city. Boy, is she mistaken!!  

As Chloe is driving along a country road, she observes a young lady being "bothered" by two men and decides to stop to see if she can be of some help. 
Indeed, she is. She frightens the men away and ends up taking Becky, a young Amish girl to her home with her. Becky is attempting to leave home and Chloe is in the right place at the right time. She agrees to allow her to stay with her.  Becky promises that she will get a job and in fact, does get an interview almost immediately. THEN, comes the big mistake: Becky borrows, without asking, Chloe's car- has no license, AND a tragedy occurs! A nightmare begins. Becky, through no fault of her own, as is eventually discovered, hits an Amish buggy, killing the  driver- the Bishop of her Amish community. Chloe and Timothy, Becky's brother , rush to her aid. Becky is left with a broken arm and is physically not seriously injured, however, suffers greatly from the  behavior and attitude of the Amish community.
When it is discovered that the cause of the accident was not her fault, there are many more questions. Who cut the break lines, who was supposed to be the driver, was the death meant to be????

You are constantly in suspense, wondering what will happen next. Who will be involved. Why is Chloe the one who rescues Becky?  So many questions run through your mind as you read this book. A great novel full of mystery and twists and turns of plots.

Amanda Flower is an author who is going great places- at least in this reader's heart!!

Ebook was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Shelley Shepard Gray continues The Secrets of Crittenden County Series!

Product Details"The Search"
By Shelley Shepard Gray

Shelley continues her mystery of The Secrets of Crittenden County, keeping us totally unaware of what is going to happen next.  Her first book in her series,"The Missing",  has the disappearance of a young person, Perry Borntrager.  The story involves numerous Amish young people, one of whom has been involved with Perry , in a romantic way. All of a sudden, Perry vanishes!  He is gone, but where and are others involved? His recent interactions with the Englisch world - in that in the world of drugs becomes obvious. But who was involved with this strange disappearance? Is the body found and by whom?

 The second in the series, "The Search", is not a disappointment. Shelley continues to use her talents to keep us on our toes at all times.  We are right in the middle of Perry's murder investigation.  Mose and Luke are striving desperately to find the cause of this dreadful and mysterious death. Frannie, a girl who has formerly dated Perry, is now the owner of a Bed and Breakfast.  As a surprise to all of us, Luke becomes involved with Frannie, although he did not intend this to occur. Frannie finds herself in the hospital , after an accident. Luke spends a great deal of time with her, however, is he trying to do his detective work, or does he care for her? Frannie's father is absent much of the time, due to his feelings about the way Frannie has chosen to live.  
Beth, a good friend of Frannie's takes over the B and B, while her Frannie is indisposed. Although it is difficult for her, she does it for a friend in need. 
The truth of  Perry's disappearance is discovered, as is the truth about many of his friends. Frannie, who at one time thought she was in love with Perry, becomes enamoured with Luke.  As Luke searches for the killer , he also seeks acceptance in the County. Frannie's relationship with her father remains unusual and strained, but I will say no more as I don't want to add any spoilers.

Shelley capably includes romance, suspence and intrigue all within the same book. Her ability to involve you in the lives of her characters is uncanny.  You feel you are there with them. The end of this book leaves you with many questions- the most important being- who did kill Perry and why????
I can hardly wait for Book 3 in this series, "Found", in which we will find the answers to our many questions.  A very different Amish book!! Loved it!!!!

This ebook was provided by Eidelweissabovethetreeline in exchange for an honest review.

Another Fantastic Read by One of My Favorite Authors, Vannetta Chapman!

An Amish Proposal for Christmas  By Vannetta Chapman Synopsis: Her deepest Christmas wish will bring more than she imagined…in this novel by...